Cupcake "Burgers" + BBQ Cakepops = Memorial Day Desserts!

Duncan Hines' Grill Cake Pops
I can't think of a better way to celebrate a long weekend (err... Memorial Day) than by spending quality time outdoors with family and friends, beer in hand, burgers on the grill. Summer might not "officially" start until June 20, but Memorial Day weekend is practically the gateway to the beach and BBQ season. If you want to really make your BBQ menu blow your guests' minds, here are a few grill-themed desserts to whip up: my cupcake "burgers," cake pops that resemble miniature BBQ grills, and delicately latticed apple "pie" cupcakes. Check them out below, with links to the recipes.

Duncan Hines' recipe for itty-bitty, realistic dessert replicas of a BBQ grill takes some time -- we're talking about 18 hours, from start to finish -- but the time investment will be well worth it when you see your guests' awe-struck reactions. The "grills" are cleverly constructed from candy melts, Tootsie Rolls (burger meat), Jelly Beans (peppers), Mike & Ike/Hot Tamales (hotdogs), and Starburst mixed with Caramel (steaks). Oh, cake mix and frosting are hidden inside, too.

My cupcake burgers (see left) take much less time and I'd like to say have a similar "wow" factor. I've made them for birthday parties and summer softball games, and each time they've been scarfed down by impressed onlookers. The ingredients are fairly standard: cake mix, brownie mix, vanilla frosting, and red (ketchup), yellow (mustard) and green (lettuce) food coloring. Sesame seeds are optional but add a cool touch to the burger "buns." Give yourself about four hours to make these, as you'll need time to let the brownies and cupcakes completely cool (no runny condiments here), cut out the brownies, mix the "condiments" to their appropriate shades, and let the finished burgers set up.

Finally, another beautiful, self-serve dessert from Mommy Topics (see right) that appropriately rings in the summer months are apple pie cupcakes with a frosting lattice "crust." The great thing about these cuties is that they can be made for any patriotic-themed holiday... 4th of July, anyone? The cupcakes are topped with fresh or canned fruit, then icing is piped to mimic a pie crust pattern. Use your imagination when it comes to the fruit "filling;" apple, cherry, peach, raspberry, blueberry, blackberry... the world is your dessert oyster!

Whatever you make, enjoy your weekend! It's been a long, busy year already and we all deserve some good R and R. Especially if said downtime includes indulging on some of these clever desserts. Just remember calories don't count on holidays! Happy Memorial Day!

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